Should we use a baseline grid for page layout or not?

deda's picture

I'm hoping I've posted this in the right section. (If not please move my topic! I would greatly appreciate!) I was talking a designer and that has never used the feature to lock the paragraph(in InDesign) to the baseline grid. I got to thinking because looking at the baseline grid right after you click the lock feature it ruins the leading set up. I know that you need to change the baseline grid first to adjust to the leading of the body copy text, but then I had this project where I made so many lines for the baseline grid in order to accommodate the text to fit the layout and not have the leading have wide gaps which would have given a lot of space between each line. I started to think is it really necessary to align text boxes to the baseline grid for page layout or is just modifying the leading and text size actually enough? Is there information about the why the baseline grid would be necessary or why we should lock the text boxes to it or why we shouldn't?

What are your thoughts on this?

riccard0's picture

Other than defining a vertical rhythm, aligning to the baseline grid is especially useful in multi-column layouts.

Nick Shinn's picture

If you have extra paragraph leading, or block quotes with less leading than the main body text, a baseline grid can create problems. Some facility with arithmetic is a job requirement for typographers :-)

aluminum's picture

The primary purpose of the grid is to make sure parallel columns' type lines up ala a newspaper or magazine article.

Beyond that, it can be useful, but you also need to trust your aesthetic judgement.

kentlew's picture

I find a carefully considered baseline grid very useful for making aesthetic decisions and for assisting in precise work. But it is a guideline only, not a Procrustean bed; locking to baseline grid is too tyrannical for my purposes, and I usually recommend against it to designers I’ve trained.

We’ve discussed this topic before (probably multiple times), so I won’t repeat myself. You can Google site:typophile for “baseline grid” and probably come up with several.

Here’s one previous discussion that evolves into quite a discussion about baseline grids between Jan Schmoeger (paragraph), Charles Ellertson, and myself about various strategies we use (mostly for book design, in the case of Charles and me, anyway):

http://typophile.com/node/55212

jacobsievers's picture

Snapping to the baseline grid is just another tool in the toolbox. A big, heavy tool. And, sometimes, that's exactly what's called for.

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